This kind of backstabbing has become a regular occurrence in a White House where, as the Times article put it, “officials jockey for the ear of the president, angle for authority and seek to place blame for political defeats.”
Until this week, Bannon had escaped the public injuries inflicted upon the likes of presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House press secretary Sean Spicer. The Washington Post did report on one episode, last month, in which a furious Trump ripped his senior staff and left behind most of them, including Bannon, when he traveled to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the weekend. But the influence of the president's former campaign chief never seemed in doubt before his removal from the National Security Council.
At this point, it is clear that no one — except, perhaps, the president's elder daughter, Ivanka Trump — is safe from harm.
Spicer found himself under bus tires almost immediately, when colleagues leaked details of Trump's displeasure with him in the days after the inauguration. New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, citing “a longtime Trump adviser,” reported that the president had called Spicer's media-bashing debut in the briefing room “terrible.”
The Post, drawing on “interviews with nearly a dozen senior White House officials and other Trump advisers and confidants,” reported that “in Trump’s mind, Spicer’s attack on the news media was not forceful enough. The president was also bothered that the spokesman read, at times haltingly, from a printed statement.”
“I'm told that a top White House official was discussing possible replacement,” Mike Allen reported in Axios. “On Day 4!”
When the White House bungled the rollout of Trump's original travel ban, barring refugees, as well as citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, from entering the United States, Breitbart News (which Bannon previously chaired) reported that Priebus was on the rocks, according to “multiple sources close to President Trump with internal knowledge of White House operations.”
About the same time, Newsmax chief executive and Trump pal Chris Ruddy suggested on CNN that the president ought to replace Priebus. Then Ruddy told The Post that he had “gotten three text messages from sitting Cabinet members praising my appearance.” He didn't name the Cabinet members.
In February, as a week passed without a television appearance by Conway, CNN reported that she had been benched for veering off-message in previous interviews, according to “White House sources.”
Also in February, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, citing Trump's “top aides,” reported that “she's out of the loop. She's in none of the key meetings.”
Even Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and the president's son-in-law, has been a target. After a Republican health-care bill failed in Congress last month, “a source close to the president” told CNN that Trump was “upset that his son-in-law and senior adviser was not around during this crucial week.” Kushner had been skiing in Aspen.
This is how the ultra-competitive White House workplace functions right now, and there is no reason to think conditions will improve. Bannon and Kushner are widely viewed as rivals, and after a news cycle filled with headlines — including a Drudge Report banner — about the chief strategist's reduced power, Axios quoted “a close Bannon ally outside of the White House,” who said this: “I see some bad press in [Jared's] future.”